Stark reality of the cuts

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TWO fire stations are set to close, 38 firefighters will lose their jobs and 108 firefighting posts will be lost – with no prospect of recruitment for three years.

That is the stark result of a consultation that has seen the fire service present its proposals and invite feedback from the public over the past few months.

The fire service is facing the same tough decision-making as many in the private sector have done and the rest of the public sector is now doing. It needs to find £10m savings over the next three years.

Its recommendations are far-reaching, but obviously necessary.

What is disappointing is that none of the ideas put forward by the public was incorporated into any amended proposals. That will do little to persuade the public to come forward in further consultations.

Equally disappointing, though, is that the fire brigades union has also failed to engage with the consultation process.

It has objected to the proposals but put forward no alternative ways of saving money. Yet it intends to lobby MPs and councillors ahead of the decision-making meeting next week.

That leaves the FBU in a difficult position. It may rightly be concerned about the public’s safety and the safety of its officers who face job cuts.

But its only suggestion appears to be to tell the fire service to dip into its reserves. That won’t deliver sustainable and radical solutions to the funding quandary the fire service finds itself in.

The cuts are tough. But without any viable alternatives the service appears to have had little choice but to recommend them.

Fitting home for battle memorial

HOW fitting that Doncaster should have been chosen to host a monument to remember the heroes of the Battle of Britain.

The town has a proud aeronautical history, having been home to RAF Finningley and pilot Douglas Bader.

The monument is to be built at the Aeroventure museum at Doncaster Lakeside and should act as a reminder of the debt we owe to the pilots who fought in that dramatic battle in 1940.

We are pleased to hear the Battle of Britain Historical Society is already planning to write to schools to invite them to the monument.

It is only by such means that the memory of these significant events is preserved. This can only be good for the nation and its sense of what made it. And it can only be good for Doncaster, focusing attention on the town for all the right reasons.